April 16, 2010
The Final Countdown
From an unnamed university in the greater San Francisco Bay Area...
Today is the deadline for our students to submit work for our annual Spring Awards competition. In addition to adding "award winner" to their resume, Spring Awards winners also receive a modest cash prize (usually somewhere between $100-300). I announced the submissions requirements and deadline 10 days ago, but of course it wasn't until about 1:00am today that I started getting emails with questions like: "Can I turn my submission after the noon deadline?" "How many copies of each submission do you need?" "Why aren't there any guidelines for how to submit?" To which I replied, "What do you think the word 'deadline' means?" "Read my damn email." and "Ibid."
Around 10:40 this morning they started coming in with sob stories of broken computers and competing deadlines for other school projects, and do I really need to have the submissions at noon? Isn't that just a totally arbitrary time I've picked?
Not that any of them will read this, but...
Remember when I sent you that email that said "Spring Awards Announcement"? It had all the submissions guidelines right in it, including the fact that the noon on the 16th deadline was not in fact arbitrary but based on when I had to get your submissions to our judging committee. I acknowledged that yes, sometimes our deadlines are soft ones, but this was not one of those times and that you had to get your submission in by noon if you wanted to be included in the competition.
And I don't need to hear your sob stories or be told that I'm ruining your life. A) You did this yourself. "Deadline" means "absolute last minute." You could have turned it in anytime between the announcement and noon today, but you chose to wait until this morning. That's your call. B) I am not killing you, taking your house, or preventing you from graduating. I am telling you that you will not be able to enter this particular contest this year. It's really not that bad.
And to the young lady who turned in her submission on time only to come back and ask if she could switch it out for another because she realized she made a big mistake on the first one, but she'd need to turn in the new version after the deadline: you really didn't need to do the Charlie Brown/George Michael Bluth pout walk away from me when I said no. I didn't mess up your first submission. You did. Grow up.